What is fiber and what are its practical functions?

Fiber is like traffic controllers © skypistudio

Fiber is like traffic controllers © skypistudio

Fiber is a type of a non-digestible carbohydrate found exclusively only in fruits and vegetables. Imagine it as a traffic controller that regulates the flow of food from your stomach to your small intestine. In addition to that, it also has many other practical functions such as reducing cholesterol in the body, facilitating the movement of body waste through the colon, and reducing the glycemic index of food. Fiber, therefore, plays an important role in your health.

Fiber slows down the rate of food emptying from the stomach into the small intestines

When you eat food, it first gets digested, converted into energy, and then sent to your blood vessels. It is good to know that this energy has two additional popular names – glucose and blood sugar.

Now imagine that your blood vessels are hallways of some building and that the cells of your muscles are apartments in that building. When you eat food, energy which is needed by the apartments gets into the hallways, but how can that energy enter the apartments when the doors are closed? Someone has to open the door.

This is the job of insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. Imagine insulin as agents running along the hallways and opening the doors of apartments saying “Energy in the hallway! Here you are people!” The doors open and the cells of your muscles, brain, liver, and other organs get the energy.

Doors of the muscle cells inside of blood vessels © Mopic

Doors of the muscle cells inside of blood vessels © Mopic

So where is the problem?

One problem occurs when too much energy gets into the hallways too fast, but there aren’t enough insulin agents to open all the doors. Your body then asks the pancreas to do the impossible – to produce a huge amount of insulin agents in a very short time.

Another problem arises when fats, imagine them as garbage, block doors and make them inaccessible for agents.

In both cases, a large amount of energy cannot reach your muscles and since it is not allowed to remain in your blood vessels for a long time, one part of the energy is converted into fat, while the other part is ejected through urine. This means that the energy from the food you eat doesn’t reach your cells, it just goes through you, and out the body. Peeing frequently? Feel like your eyesight is getting worse? Have regular periods of fatigue? Often feel like as if run over by a train? There is a solution for it all.

Fat is garbage which blocks insulin from getting to muscle cells © Gudella

Fat is garbage which blocks insulin from getting to muscle cells © Gudella

How do these problems arise? These problems arise when you eat food that contains critically little or no fiber. If you take an invented device for juicing of fruits and vegetables and you make fresh squeezed juice, you get juice that is completely stripped of fiber which is practically just water and sugar that enters into your blood vessels with lightning speed. Whether you eat a cookie or chocolate, you are consuming sugar that is not attached to fiber and that enters your blood vessels with lightning speed. If you eat something candied…What does candied mean? It means that it contains added sugar that is not attached to fiber and that enters your blood vessels with lightning speed and causes harm to your organs. Why do meat, eggs, and dairy products not contain any fiber? Animals have bones, plants have fiber.

Food that contains critically little or no fiber

Carbonated drinks
Cheese
Chips
Chocolate
Cookies
Eggs
Fresh squeezed juice
Meat
Milk
Salted snacks
Sugar, isolated
Sweets
Vegetable oil
White bread
White pasta
White rice

How to solve these problems? Eat whole fruits and vegetables. The only sugar that is attached to fiber is sugar that is found in whole fruits and vegetables. When you eat whole fruits and vegetables, you consume fiber that gives your small intestines time to effectively and efficiently digest food and regulates the amount of energy that is sent to your blood vessels.

Fiber binds to cholesterol and thereby lowers the amount of cholesterol in the body

Only animal foods contain cholesterol while fruits and vegetables do not, and your body has a very effective mechanism for reabsorbing cholesterol that is found in foods and cholesterol that is already inside the body. Fiber prevents the body from reabsorbing cholesterol by binding to it and then ejecting it from the body. Imagine it as police officers who arrest and throw cholesterol out your body.

Fiber is like police officers who arrest bandits inside your body © natashin

Fiber is like police officers who arrest bandits inside your body © natashin

Fiber binds to heavy metals inside the body

Fiber prevents the body from absorbing heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic by binding to them and and kicking them out the body. How do these heavy metals end up inside the body? Through the air you inhale, the water you drink, and the food you eat.

Fiber retains water and therewith causes bowel movement

Fiber retains water and thereby increases the mass of the food waste inside the colon. When the mass reaches a certain size it triggers sensors inside the colon which causes bowel movement. The professional term for this is peristalsis. Why is this important? Because if you eat food that contains little or no fiber, the waste in the colon can sit there for a long time, rot, and ferment and cause the production of methane and other things that are harmful for the colon.

Fiber is non-digestible for the digestive tract of all vertebrates

Since fiber is not digestible for the digestive tract of all vertebrates such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish it means that people can get fiber exclusively only from fruits and vegetables.

Fiber serves as the main food for the gut flora

Gut flora is the good bacteria inside your colon which, unlike your digestive tract, can digest fiber and as a side product get small chain fatty acids such as butyrate which is the preferred food of your colon’s epithelial cells. So fiber is very important for your colon.

I root for fiber © MikeMihnevich

I root for fiber © MikeMihnevich

I root for fiber. Who do you root for?

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